Maimed canine survives attack

Submitted Photo: Pictured is a Piebald Catahoula mixed canine named Polly, who was recently attacked by a wild animal.

STOCKTON — A brutally injured rescue dog is now home and currently on the mend after an unidentified wild animal scaled two 7-foot fences and assaulted her.

According to Tera Cunningham, owner of Weimeraner Rescue of the North, she and her husband, Mark, Stockton’s town court judge, returned home on Cassadaga-Stockton Road around 9:40 p.m. on Sept. 2 to find their Piebald Catahoula mixed canine, “Polly,” bleeding on the floor of the kennel.

“She was ripped apart,” said Mrs. Cunningham. The canine’s jaw was completely exposed with bite marks and puncture wounds on her face and legs. Polly was rushed to the veterinarian, where she was found to have no internal injuries.

“She had to have sutures so they could put her face back together,” Mrs. Cunningham added.

The wounded dog has had a rough time of it though. After bringing her home from the hospital, where she’d been patched up, she began going downhill as her body could not absorb proper nutrition. Her feeding tube had come out, which tends to happen with active canines, and she suffered from low blood sugar. They took her back to the hospital.

“I thought for sure they would tell us she had to be put down,” Cunningham recalls.

But Polly proved resilient. The Cunninghams now report that she is eating on her own and is recovering, slowly but surely.

“I’ve never seen a dog that has such a will to live,” Cunningham said.

Polly was originally found starving in West Virginia and taken to a kill shelter until the Cunninghams found her and placed her in their care. The Cunninghams have converted the dairy farm that once operated on their land into a kennel and rescue home for canines of the Weimeraner breeds. Theirs is a branch of the New York State Weimeraner Rescue. Tera runs the kennel from her home as a volunteer.

At first, noting the way Polly’s mouth and face was injured, they simply thought the animal that attacked her was a bobcat, because of how bobcats tend to suffocate their prey. It was speculated that it could have been a young bear. But the dog’s wounds are a mystery. It could have been anything.

“We are not able to conclusively confirm the source of the bite marks on the dog,” said Megan Gollwitzer of DEC’s Office of Communications.

The two 7-foot chain-link fences the creature scaled were not badly damaged, which confirms this attack was not from a large animal. At first the Cunninghams didn’t notice any damage, but later, in daylight, found the top of the fence was bent.

Mrs. Cunningham says she recalls hearing about someone seeing a mother bear and her three cubs sometime last year and also hearing that a moving vehicle killed one of the cubs. This young bear could be one of the surviving two cubs — which presents a disconcerting situation if it’s willing to enter obviously human areas.

Mrs. Cunningham said she called various Animal Controls to find out if this had ever happened before and found that it had not. When asked if she was concerned for her children, Tera Cunningham responded with a resounding yes. “We live in the country. Before, I let my children play outside, and now, I absolutely will not let them play alone or out of my sight.”

Though they have a radio on at all times in the kennel, the Cunninghams are investing in motion lights and a security camera so this cannot happen again. They are also locking the dog food away in safer, more secured areas and bringing the rescue animals inside at night. Polly may have some additional surgeries as new skin returns to her face and jaw.

To help them fund these surgeries, the Cunninghams have provided a donation site on that has raised $4,695 of the needed $5,000.

Though Polly is looking for a forever home with people who understand and are sensitive of her trauma, Cunningham wants to reminds people that should she be adopted, Polly will need to be an only animal. You can follow her journey to recovery at the rescue’s Facebook page: